Marks & Spencer profits up for first time in years
While most supermarkets are soiling themselves at the Lidl and Aldi onslaught, Marks & Spencer have been quietly getting on with it and, for the first time since 2011, they've delivered an increase in profits.
This has been thanks to not throwing their money around, not bothering with discounts and getting good deals with their suppliers.
As a result, M&S said it would return £150m to shareholders and saw their underlying profit before tax going up by 6.1%.
One fly in the ointment is that the retailer has had yet another difficult year with their M&S clothing wing. Basically, everyone thinks their clothes are rubbish.
They've fared much better with food sales though, which isn't surprising if you've been in one of their shops recently. Mark Bolland, the chief exec, said their food arm had enjoyed an “outstanding year in a difficult market”, adding: “We are transforming M&S into a stronger, more agile business – putting the right infrastructure, capabilities and talent in place to drive our strategic priorities."
With M&S and Waitrose doing well, and Aldi and Lidl performing strongly at the other end of the spectrum, it seems Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons need to decide whether to aim for the bargain-end of the market, or try and tackle the higher spending end with disposable income.